23 May 2023

Young Mining Company says NSW Government accident report biased

| Edwina Mason
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workplace accident animation

An animation of the incident at Thuddungra Mine was also published last week. Here the animation shows how the worker was almost buried alive in raw product from the mine. Image: NSW Resource Regulator.

A recently published report into an accident at a mine west of Young, in the NSW South West Slopes, has been labelled biased by Young Mining Company, a subsidiary of Orind Australia Pty Ltd that is taking the NSW Government to court to have it removed and corrected.

Last week, the NSW Resources Regulator published the findings of an investigation into the mining company’s open-pit Thuddungra magnesite mine following a workplace incident in August 2021.

The mine has been extracting and manufacturing, through another Young-based subsidiary, Causmag International, high-grade magnesium oxide products for use in agriculture, animal health, and industrial and pharmaceutical processes, for more than 60 years.

The 33-page report detailed the sequence of events that led to a 54-year-old man suffering a chest injury after almost being buried alive following a fall into the entry chute of a conveyor in the mine’s photometric plant.

According to the report, the worker was injured about 3 pm on 10 August, 2021, after repairs to the conveyor belt were being tested under load.

The report determined that a range of factors contributed to the accident, including mechanical shortfalls, weather conditions, poor housekeeping including reduced labour, design and access issues, unsafe work practices and poor risk control.

The regulator says it hasn’t been advised of non-compliances being rectified since the 2021 accident when Young Mining Company was issued with an order prohibiting use of the plant.

The report states the mine operator has continued processing product at the mine using a mobile screen but not using the involved plant to which the prohibition notice applies.

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Young Mining Company is seeking to have the public report removed from the NSW Resources Regulator website, alleging that it contains inaccurate information that falsely represents the company.

According to a spokesperson, the report is full of “gross misrepresentations of facts, as well as many untruths and false allegations”.

“In particular, the report ignores sworn testimony of the injured worker who has accepted responsibility for his own actions, where he ignored the company’s safety instructions, training and protocols that were in place,” the spokesperson added.

“The company is presently in the Supreme Court seeking to have the report quashed and is alleging, amongst other things, that the report has not been produced in good faith, as is required by the relevant legislation.”

They told About Regional they felt they had been targeted by the regulator for years.

As the matter is before the court, Young Mining Company said it could not go into more detail.

The case is expected to be heard in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on 26 May.

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